Not long after settling into the fall term, Michigan students begin thinking about their housing options for next year. Why so soon? Probably because of the long-held—and misleading—perception that all the good places to live off-campus are signed early. So when commercial apartment and rental property owners begin marketing in the fall, and new friends are pressing to share a place, many students rush into housing decisions.
The fact is, there is no need to rush. Students have lots of housing options, on campus and off, in the months ahead. Because a student’s living situation can influence his or her academic success, it’s important to think through:
- Proximity to campus and classes
- Meals and nutrition
- Community and social environment
- Study environment and academic support
University Housing Sign-Up for on-campus living begins in late January, giving students time to consider the options that will suit them and more time to decide with whom they want to share living arrangements the following year. Housing Sign-Up information is going out now to help you and your student consider the options for living on campus.
Most U-M students live off-campus, preferring the independence and physical separation from school. Many enjoy the quiet of single apartments or share a house with a few close friends. For some, cooperative housing is an appealing and affordable option. Co-ops are owned and run by the members who live in them—not landlords or the University. More information is available through the Inter-cooperative Council at U-M.
A hasty selection of off-campus lodging can lead to unpleasant discoveries in terms of expenses, inconveniences and responsibilities. Then there’s that problem roommate who seemed like the perfect new friend at the time. The Off-Campus Housing website contains a wealth of information to help students assess what they want in a place to live, where many of the available rental properties around Ann Arbor are, and to understand their rights and responsibilities as tenants.
The site also includes useful information such as safety and security tips; a roommate finder and sub-let service; community resources; and conflict resolution services for problems with a landlord, neighbor, subtenant or roommate.
Student Legal Services, a unit within Student Affairs, is a full-service law office available to students. One of their resources is helping student tenants and landlords resolve disputes.
“SLS is staffed by full time attorneys with the experience to assist students in any aspect of landlord tenant relations, from reviewing the lease before they sign, to litigating with a landlord when all else has failed,” explains SLS Director Douglas Lewis. “We want to assist students in becoming educated and empowered consumers.”
The student housing choices are many and varied—on campus and off—so encourage your student to take the time to carefully review the options and make the right decision. And whether she lives in a residence hall or an off-campus apartment, your student can draw on the full resources of Student Affairs to help her enjoy living at Michigan.